Local shelters expect an increase in homelessness as the winter months approach

Published: Oct. 6, 2022 at 6:38 PM EDT
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TOLEDO, Ohio (WTVG) - Homelessness has been a continual problem in our area and nationwide over the past few years. Local homeless shelters say those numbers will most likely increase as the colder weather comes.

Places like Cherry Street Mission Ministries and United Way of Greater Toledo say they expect to see more people looking for help escaping the cold.

13abc asked Wendy Pestrue, president of United Way, how the agency assists the homeless population.

“We do work with the homelessness board here through our coordinated access program to make sure we can find housing for folks when this time of year rolls around,” said Pestrue. “We want people to be safe, but also we want people to think about how they can be preventative.”

United Way will sometimes refer people to Cherry Street Mission Ministries. Cherry Street said around 550 people were served by the shelter last month, a record-breaking number. And right now the mission is ready to help more people.

“We do have beds available,” said Savannah Rayford, the VP of Programs and Services at Cherry Street. “There have been some times where all the beds are occupied, and so we just go over to an overflow space until we’re able to work with other community resources to be able to get individuals housed.”

But in the past, people have told 13abc they’ve called 211 and received no help from United Way. We asked Pestrue what the options would be for people if all beds are full.

She responded, “It does take some time to get those opportunities lined up, and that’s why we try to go into the preventative space. But be patient and try to work through. Obviously, in emergency cases, we can try to find something a little faster when people are facing, say, domestic violence.”

13abc asked Rayford from Cherry Street the same question, and she said the shelter might be able to help.

“So if individuals call 2-1-1 and they say there are no beds available in the community I still just encourage them to come into Cherry Street and check in and ensure that that’s the case.”

As the temperature takes a decline within the next couple of weeks, Rayford said the people at Cherry Street will do absolutely everything they can to make sure no one has to brave the cold overnight.

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